Lakmé Fashion Week`s Fashion Workshop Series

Mumbai: After a successful Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) - Fashion Workshop last season, LFW organized its third edition of the Fashion Workshop Series concentrating on the `Business of Fashion` in collaboration with Inter National Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD) on August 31, 2010 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai.

The day long workshop explored the buyer and designer perspectives on various facets of the `Business of Fashion`. The forum was divided into three sessions - The Buyer - An Insider View, The Designer Perspective and eventually discussing the Future of the Business of Fashion; the highlights are as follows:

Session I The Buyer - An Insider View - `Tap your market first and then leap for international business` The first session comprised of a panel of reputed buyers like Aparna Badlani (Zoya), Caroline Young (Independent Buying Agent), Pearl Uppal (Fashion & You) and Sushil Jhaveri (Fuel) discussing the importance of customization of the collection to the India`s seasonality which is centered around Summer/Resort and Festive seasons. The panel also reinforced the importance of quality control, production capabilities, and pricing as key aspects in the success and stocking of designers in Indian stores. Each panelist represented a different niche in the buyer space in India and provided an expansive view as to the realities faced by the buyer. The panelists also discussed the potential and growth of of E-commerce as a vehicle for sales in the fashion industry.

The forum gave students an understanding on buyer requirements and direct access to the eminent panel via a question answer session.

Session II - The Designer Perspective - `Have your own signature look` The second session, dedicated to the designers, boasted a gamut of talent like Drashta Sarvaiya, Masaba Gupta, Nachiket Barve, Narendra Kumar, Neeta and Siddarth Lulla, Riddhi & Siddhi Mapxencar. The panel discussed various issues that concerned designers, the biggest being consignment based association with buyers and other issues like infrastructure capabilities, production problems for startup designers. The session touched upon topics such as customization of collection from ramp to store to practicality yet retaining creativity, price points, fabrics that work, trends, season centric collections and delivery period.

The aspiring designers and students in the packed audience took back a checklist of requirements before launching a collection, also great tips on showcasing and selling.

Session III - Future of the Business of Fashion. The last session that emphasized on the `future of business of fashion` included Caroline Young (Independent Buying Agent), Masaba Gupta (Designer), Pearl Uppal (Fashion & You), Riddhi & Siddhi Mapxencar (LFW Gen Next Designers), Srimoyi Bhattacharya (Peepul Consulting) and Sushil Jhaveri (Fuel) as panelists. Key aspects of the buyer and designer relationship were discussed. The lively debate among the panelists and audience highlighted key concerns around the financial risk and implications of the consignment model largely followed in boutiques in India as compared to international standards. Key takeaways included the need for an independent body to work with buyers and designers to identify and implement industry norms. Additionally, it was unanimous that E- Commerce and being relevant online cannot be ignored in the future of the business of fashion.

The day concluded with the delegates getting the unique opportunity to hear key stakeholders and voices of the industry talk about fashion and its business. This thought leading initiative is aimed to bring about a change and inspire young designers to succeed in being commercially viable and explore all possible avenues that facilitate business of fashion. The forum was then open to a very neutral platform where the panelists were open to Q & A posed by the attendees.

After moderating the Fashion Workshop Series, Sujal Shah, Vice President and Head of Fashion, IMG - India says, "After a resounding success last season, the Fashion Workshop Series continued into this third edition - which focused on the Business of Fashion. It is imperative that we continuously look for ways to improve the dialogue between buyers and designers. FWS III took a big step forward in exposing the realities, requirements, and limitations faced by the buyers and designers. The forum was not only a creative outlet but also brought to light the role of market forces and strategies adopted by the industry to conduct successful trade. Nearly 200 young designers and students had the opportunity to listen to and interact with industry heavyweights from design, buying, pr, and academia. The workshop delivered a series of unique experiences, each designed to explore a particular element of fashion from the vantage point of different stakeholders. Lakmé Fashion Week, along with the presenting sponsor, INIFD, is proud to continue to lead this learning and development initiative which gives back to the industry and promote the success of new talent in India."

Ms. Ritu Kochhar - Corporate Director, NIFD Ltd. states, "This program is designed to introduce learners to the fast growing and competitive fashion design industry hence this is a great platform for designers to understand business of fashion. The workshop is segmented into various sections and gives explicit information about the
designer`s inspirations along with all important thought processes."